Time was once when if you were into serious physical exercises and strenuous workouts meant you were either one of the following:
1) A body-builder
2) No, wait. You could not have been anybody else
People jogged or walked in parks only if there was a dog in the equation. That is, they had to be either chased by a dog or had to take it for potty purposes.
But with body-builders it was different. They, of course, needed those chunks and chunks of muscles primarily to divert the attention of other people from noticing that they (body-builders) have to turn up in public platforms using more or less a Boomer chewing gum desperately stretched to cover their substantial nether regions.
It’s not as if the people then were not fitness conscious. They were; but they were wise enough to be aware of fitness but were not stupid to look for that in gyms and through workouts. For compelling proof, I have to bring in the former Tamil film star and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, MGR, who, as anyone from that era will vouch, was the most fit and agile of screen personalities, in that he could win any kind of physical combat on screen without the benefit of special effects.
MGR never sported the six-pack or that lean mean look. In fact, he never seemed as someone who even worked for that. If anything, MGR had a pudgy paunch, which people overlooked probably because they were dazzled by his sheer manliness in wearing lipstick and eyeliner without seeming gay. MGR also oozed cool machismo, by which I mean he never betrayed even a slight bit of embarrassment that his moustache was a pencil-drawn one.
But it is just as well that MGR did not have a heavily muscle-toned body. Because we’re now paying a heavy price for having too many heroes who insist on wearing only a ‘munda banian’, even if they are playing an Eskimo trapped in a nightmarish Alaskan winter, just because they think they have the muscles to flaunt.
Director: Akshay, you’re playing the Pope in the film.
Akshay Kumar: Okay, the Pope will be at the mass in a ceremonial disrobe, hanging on a rope from the Vatican balcony.
But let’s face it, there is no escaping this fitness fad. Every one other than you seems to be hitting the gym with a vengeance. So much so, one of these days, your bank may tell you that your loan may not be processed unless you can bench-press in triplicate.
So without much ado we will hit the gym to understand what the heck it is, what all is there that people come out smelling like open sewer.
Experts are unanimous that nothing less than two hours daily at the gym will deliver the necessary results. Experts also suggest that the two hours at the gym can be handily split into operational parts like: Five minutes of some random physical activity with weighty implements, including vigorously looking at them. And 115 minutes of ogling at your own misshapen figure from every possible angle on the mirrors provided helpfully by the gym authorities. Technically, a modern-day gym has more mirrors than they have manufactured in the entire history of Belgium.
But why do they need so many mirrors in a gym? The only answer that seems logical is if your own image keeps coming up in every direction you turn, one of these days you’re bound to like or even fall in love with it.
Another important feature of the state-of-the-art gymnasiums is the plethora of flat-screen TVs that are thoughtfully tuned into Animal Planet or National Geographic channel, in which they show you unthinking animals, which have failed to understand the importance of physical exercises to ward off ailments, romping around in forests in total glee and bliss. Poor animals, they all die without ever knowing what their cholesterol count is.
Treadmill, Cross-Trainer, Recumbent Exercise Bike
Treadmill is an extremely handy and popular apparatus that not only allows you to conveniently walk within the confines of an AC room but also opens you up to the possibility of slipping, tripping and falling in funny and dangerous ways that are not even imaginable if you were merely jogging in the park.
On the treadmill, you can also instantly get to know at what speed you are walking and how much distance you have technically covered and how much calories you are deemed to have burnt. These statistics are as important as the GDP or the inflation numbers of the nation: In that they are actually totally devoid of any practical value but help to brilliantly show off.
As a fitness equipment, Cross-Trainer (or Elliptical-Trainer) is tailor-made to simulate the up and down walking that is so unmistakable in any one suffering from an extreme case of piles. Recumbent Exercise Bikes, on the other hand, allow you the luxury of experiencing cycling when you are technically in a sleeping position. Suffice to say, if any cycle on road had been designed on this model mankind will be still stuck in the dark ages.
Of course, there are a variety of weight-related fitness equipment, working on which not only helps you tone up your muscles but also considerably reduces fatty contents like your brain cells. Yes, regular fitness exercises come at a price: Reduced thinking faculty. Exhibit A: Salman Khan.
This is the crucial element of any fitness regime, and most gyms provide you with a qualified dietician whose primary job is to tell you whatever you are currently eating is totally wrong from a health perspective.
Any eatable, which is even close to being tasty, cannot aspire to be part of the diet food pantheon. Think of the rich aromatic taste of cardboard or cork or leather or even industrial yarn, you’re thinking of the multi-splendoured flavour of diet foods.
If dieticians ruled the world, a situation will eventually come when there is no need for humanity to grow rice, wheat or any other product, except possibly oats and some truly insufferable vegetables like cabbage, which upon cooking emanate a smell that is not unlike the one you usually encounter in an elevator when somebody has broken wind.
Dieticians’ magic plan is to convince you to eat oats at every conceivable occasion, including your wedding reception dinner. For the record, it’s the fear of having to consume oats that made horses acquire the ability to gallop.
That reminds me, I have got to go to the gym to watch African donkeys larking around in the jungles, while I pound the weights and then take blotting-paper-flavoured porridge.